An Innovative Practice Partnership for Advancement of the BSN Pipeline Initiative

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Christina Kiger, MSN
School of Nursing, Marian University, Carmel, IN, USA

The Institute of Medicine Future of Nursing report calls for an increase in baccalaureate prepared nurses to 80% by the year 2020 (IOM, 2010), but with increasing faculty shortages and competition for acute and community clinical sites, schools of nursing are presented with scarce resources for educating nursing students. It is through these recommendations that the awareness for a BSN pipeline effort was initiated through a practice partnership between Marian University and Community Health Network in Indianapolis, Indiana.

 In academia we are called to educate a generalist nurse who is able to provide “direct care of the sick in and across all environments, health promotion/clinical prevention, and population-based health care” (AACN, 2008, pg. 8). A senior Immersion Experience was established during a curriculum revision at Marian University and the effort to acquire a practice partnership was initiated. It was the vision of the Chief Nursing Officer of Community Health Network that impacted the new partnership with an innovative clinical teaching strategy design. The clinical teaching strategy that was used to establish the BSN pipeline effort was through the use of the evidence based Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) model of clinical education in which an acute care hospital unit is “dedicated” to one school of nursing in the education of nursing students. Research has proven the effectiveness of the DEU on student learning, outcomes and healthcare institution unit and patient outcomes alike. In addition, the DEU has proven to decrease costs of orientation and improve new nurse turnover in the first year of practice leading to improved fiscal impacts on hospitals.

 In addition to the DEU, the practice partnership appreciated the need for nursing preparedness in other areas of practice beyond the acute care setting as our society is ever increasing in age. As a partnership it was established that students would also have the opportunity to complete their senior Immersion Experience in the ambulatory setting for those students interested in this provision of care.

 Planning and preparedness of the clinical Immersion Experience and practice partnership occurred over the course of 2 years in which the course and partnership were developed from the ground up through extensive research on the DEU and future of the profession of nursing. The clinical Immersion Experience was implemented in the spring 2017 after meticulous planning and as of the time of abstract submission the results are favorable on the impact expected for the BSN pipeline effort and improved graduate nurse preparedness for the impact on patient safety and the profession as a whole.

 The development of academic practice partnerships is an evolving concept that is leading to improved outcomes in both academia and healthcare institutions. Constant vigilance, communication and responsiveness within the partnership have led to its success. As partnerships continue to flourish, the gap between academia and the healthcare setting will continue to diminish leading to a well prepared graduate nurse with improved critical thinking skills. With improved graduate nurse preparedness an impact will result in decreased patient errors and improvement in healthcare outcomes ultimately resulting in the BSN pipeline from graduation to the practice setting.


The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice[PDF]. (2008, October 20). Washington: American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

The Future of Nursing leading change advancing health [PDF]. (2010). Washington: Institute of Medicine.